SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In three separate Sacramento area cases involving the theft of mail for the purpose of committing identity theft, one defendant was sentenced and three pleaded guilty today, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated: “Postal Inspectors worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those individuals responsible for thefts of mail and Identity theft crimes committed against the public.”
U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. sentenced Michele Reyes Serrano, 35, of Sacramento, to five years and 11 months in prison for bank fraud and attempted bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of stolen U.S. mail. According to court documents, between June 1, 2015, and January 21, 2016, Serrano and her husband, co-defendant Raleigh Figueras, 35, obtained personal and financial information from stolen U.S. mail and used the stolen bank account numbers, credit cards, and checks to get money, goods, and services at the expense of the banks. Surveillance cameras caught the defendants cashing checks or making purchases at Sacramento-area Target and Wal‑Mart stores.
On January 21, 2016, agents found in the defendants’ residence stolen mail and stolen and counterfeit identification documents with the true identification information of a victim. Serrano admitted to stealing U.S. mail on a regular basis. Figueras pleaded guilty on February 9, 2017, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2017.
Orangevale residents Patricia Ann Anchondo, 38, and Angel Marie Galvin, 27, pleaded guilty today to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of stolen U.S. mail. Anchondo additionally pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Anchondo is scheduled to be sentenced May 25, 2017, and Galvin is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2017.
According to court documents, between March 23, 2016, and November 17, 2016, Anchondo and Galvin stole mail and used the personal and financial information of the mail theft victims to open credit card accounts and to take over existing bank accounts owned by the victims. When a search was conducted at the defendants’ residence, law enforcement agents found stolen U.S. mail, profiles of victims’ information, bank records for a church, and numerous identification documents of a victim. The defendants confessed that they stole mail from the church and used the church’s bank account number to make payments to other victim credit cards to keep the cards’ associated lines of credit active for further unauthorized transactions.
Galvin admitted she drove to various counties and stole U.S. mail in order to take over mail theft victims’ identities. Anchondo and Galvin each stated that they would apply for bank accounts and credit cards online to go shopping and to buy gift cards, which the two would then sell online. Anchondo additionally confessed to law enforcement that she possessed methamphetamine, and evidence found in her home and on her phone indicated that she also sold the drug.
2:17-cr-035 MCE, 2:16-cr-147 MCE
Shellby Moore, 29, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft and possession of methamphetamine. According to court documents, Moore and co-defendant Trevor Lichnock-Gembe, 28, of Sacramento, obtained stolen mail and used the personal information of victims to open checking and savings accounts and to obtain debit cards. After opening the accounts, the defendants used them to deposit stolen, counterfeit, and altered checks. Surveillance cameras at various locations showed the defendants opening accounts and making phony deposits at banks, making purchases with the fraudulent debit cards, and breaking into mail boxes at apartment complexes.
On April 20, 2016, law enforcement agents conducted a probation search where Moore lived with Lichnock-Gembe. Inside the residence, officers seized stolen property, stolen credit and debit cards, stolen identifications, passports, and stolen U.S. mail. Moore pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine on March 1, 2017, while housed as a federal inmate in the Nevada County Jail. Lichnock-Gembe has pleaded guilty to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and unlawful possession of five or more identification documents and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2017. Moore is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, 2017.
These cases are the product of investigations by the United States Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the Sacramento County Probation Department, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and the Placer County Sherriff’s Office. The Postal Inspection Service conducted these investigations with assistance of its Narcotic and Economic Crimes Investigations Task Force (NECI). NECI is a partnership between local and federal law enforcement to combat theft and unlawful use of the U.S. Mail. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office and Sutter County Sheriff’s Office have each dedicated law enforcement personnel to the task force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Rodriguez prosecuted each of these cases.
The statutory maximum penalties are 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for bank fraud; two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence and a $250,000 fine for aggravated identity. theft; five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of stolen U.S. mail, five to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for possession of methamphetamine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.